NORMAN — Another game, another slow start for Norman High.
It looked like things might be different for the Tigers against Mustang. A week after not putting up a first down in the first quarter against Yukon, the Tigers earned a first down on their first drive of the game.
But it was one of just two the Tigers would earn in the first half, as critical penalties haunted them again as the Broncos put together 13 points in the half behind the backfield duo of Chandler Garrett and Frankie Edwards.
Unlike previous games, where the Tigers were able to improve as the game went on, things never got better on Friday, and Mustang cruised to a 34-14 victory as the errors piled on for NHS.
“Bad decisions, penalties and three-and-outs are killing us,” coach Greg Nation said. “We need to be at a turning point right now. We can’t come out and make dumb mistakes on plays we run every day in practice.”
One drive in particular illustrated the struggles the Tigers faced all night long. Midway through the first quarter with the game scoreless, NHS’ offense imploded with penalties. Quarterback Jakcob Dean ran 15 yards to open the drive, but a holding call brought them back. Two plays later, the same thing happened, and NHS (2-2) followed up with a false start. In all, the Tigers gained 22 yards on the drive but failed to secure a first down before punting. That allowed Mustang (3-1) to eventually break through, and take a 13-0 lead into halftime on the back off 10 first downs compared to the Tigers’ two.
Things went from bad to worse in the second half. The Tigers did score on a 60-yard pass from Dean to Sayvon Foley, but they earned just two more first downs in the third quarter as Mustang pulled away.
Edwards and Garrett, who combined to account for 269 yards and be a part of all four offensive touchdowns for the Broncos, led the way. Edwards began the season at quarterback, but in the past two weeks has transitioned to the running back and slot receiver position as the game progresses.
The strategy worked perfectly on Friday, as Edwards had success both running the ball and receiving it from Garrett, a sophomore who impressed with his patience while completing 12 of 13 passes and throwing for four scores.
Mustang, which hasn’t lost since a 19-16 defeat to Yukon in Week 1, was impressive against the Tigers, but Nation was much more concerned with what his team wasn’t doing than what the Broncos were.
“It has nothing to do with anyone but us right now,” he said. “We’re missing too many assignments and making bad decisions. We’re going to go back to the drawing board, figure out what it is we can do better than anyone else, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
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